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|Title:||The Concept of Villainy in Selected Works of Henry James|
|Authors:||Marquis, Claudia M.|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the artitistic and intellectual maturation of Henry James as reflected in his portrayals of the "villainous" personality -- the evil character. Attention is given to the major novels of each phase; the thesis follows a chronological outline. Such a study is not unduly unprecedented, nor is it unwarrantably repetitious. To date there has been no inclusive critical or systematic evaluation of James's vilains per se. Syndy Conger's brief note on The Wings of the Dove (1971) is concerned exclusively with that novel, and J. A. Ward's perceptive study, The Imagination of Disaster (1961) focuses not on the concept of villainy, but on "the complex of forces, internal and external Which prevents the individual from moving toward completion. <sup>"1</sup></p> <p>In a study of this scope both space and time inevitably exert some irresistible pressure. As such, my choice of novels has been necessarily selective. Those chosen to represent the early and middle phases do, I believe, speak for themselves. The conspicuous absence of The Ambassadors and The Golden Bowl in the late period, however, may require some words of explanation. It is my contention that the former novel does not have any villainous characters, and is therefore irrelevant to my present purposes. On the other hand, though, while The Golden Bowl does possess the villainous Prince Amerigo and Charlotte Stant, these characters nevertheless emerge as reworked or "recast" characters in the same mould as Kate Croy and Merton Densher. The little departure marked by The Golden Bowl from The Wngs of the Dove lies in the living victory of its heroine, Maggie Verver, in contrast to the death-triumph of the earlier Milly Theale. The Golden Bowl, then, appears to be a similar study in terms of the villainous personality to that of The Wings of The Doves, and, as such, my discussion in Chapter III deals exclusively with the earlier novel.</p> <p>One final note must be made in regard to the works dealt with in the following pages. "The Turn of the Screw" -- largely because of its train of critical controversy -- has been assigned to an appendix, a section detached in part from the rant and fustian of the critical heritage.</p> <p>I should like to conclude these prefatory remarks with the necessary acknowledgements: I thank Dean Alwyn Berland for his assistance throughout the preparation of this thesis which is derived, in part, from a paper a paper presented in his graduate seminar on the modern novel. I extend my gratitude to Dr Norman Shrive for having taken time to read the original manuscript. Finally I wish to thank Gary A. Boire for his invaluable help during the writing of this thesis.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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